While all Reds fans are now in a position that they are excited about the team’s future as far as the farm system goes, I had the opportunity to question FanSided’s prospect “guru” Nathaniel Stoltz. During the past non-waiver trading “period”, I asked Nathaniel if Devin Mesoraco and Billy Hamilton were worthy enough to be considered as “untouchable”. Nathaniel posted his response the other day on Seedlings to Stars, FanSided’s blog aimed exclusively at baseball prospects. Adding his opinioin is FanSided heavyweight (figuratively, not literally) and S2S’s Senior Editor Wally Fish.
Here’s a small excerpt from both Wally and Nathaniel on this subject…
Nathaniel on Mesoraco:
"That especially applies to Mesoraco, since he’s proven himself quite thoroughly in Triple-A and is just biding his time until he gets called up. There isn’t a single better catching prospect in baseball, and you don’t give up the best anything in baseball for all but the most prized of commodities."
And Wally’s view of Devin:
"…I agree that Mesoraco is probably the best catching prospect in the minors at the present time, and he’s proven himself capable against Triple-A competition so I would have to be overwhelmed by an offer to deal him. But, I’m also not going to ignore Devin’s 2007-2009 seasons. Yes, what he’s done in the last year and a half is more important, but those other seasons are a part of his track record and shouldn’t be erased. Further many elite prospects flame out when making the jump to the majors, and the attrition rate for catchers making that jump is even higher as they have a whole host of things to learn and deal with that other positions don’t…"
As you can see, they have a slight variance in their opinions. I agree with Wally that Meso’s past struggles cannot be completely overlooked. I know it will sound like I’m riding a fence in that I agree with Nathaniel that Meso is the best catching prospect and his past two years have shown something. To me, the light went on in his head. He gets it now, and that in itself can go a long way. It brings an air of confidence.
The opinions of Hamilton seem to be more in agreement. Here’s part of Wally’s view:
"As far as Billy Hamilton is concerned, why not trade him while his value remains high? Yes, he’s got incredible speed, but that’s offset quite a bit by his lack of extra-base pop, relative low batting averages and his high strikeout rate. In 219 career minor league games, he’s whiffed 206 times, and that’s probably not going to improve a great deal as he climbs the minor league ladder."
As you will see, Nathaniel is in a bit of agreement on Hamilton.
"Hamilton’s a different story [from Mesoraco]. I mean, he’s unbelievably fast, but we’re talking about a guy with a .656 OPS in A-ball. His potential is off the charts, but those numbers would honestly give me some pause. Hamilton’s at the age–he’s 21 in a month–where he has to start producing at an above-average clip with the bat to remain on the “future star” track. At some point, the evaluators will start wondering “If he’s so great, why isn’t he hitting?” and his value will drop…"
If you read the entire post, an excellent comparison is done by Wally. The name Joey Gathwright emerged. I’m not saying another thing. Read this post to see why Gathwright’s name was mentioned.
And I concur with both of the guys.
Now, Wally also authors a post where he recaps players making their ML debuts. This past week, it was Dave Sappelt for the Reds. I’m simply give you the link for that and you can see who else made debuts last week.